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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently put a few "authentic siamese algae eaters" in my tank to help out with algae while I get this co2 and lighting balanced.... I live in an area where it's kinda tough to get fish so had to go petsmart rout... :/ so any thoughts if these guys are true siamese algae eaters or are they the dreaded Chinese algae eaters.... Should I get the communist invasion out of my new planted tank or give the guys a chance? Thank you as always ?
 

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Every single one of those are Chinese Algae Eaters (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri), with the top pic being of a yellow/golden color morph of the same fish.

Many report aggression from them, but some have had theirs never get mean. They do get rather large though. It's up to you if you want to return now or see how they get along and then rehome if trouble ever arises.


How to ID;
True Siamese Algae Eaters are easy to identify if you know what to look for.
Common traits are:
Black lateral line extends onto the caudal/tail fin
Clear/transparent/colorless fins (excluding the tail fin)

Hard to see, but still traits:
Black lateral line is jagged (black scales in lattice pattern)
One pair of barbels (2 whisker like appendages at mouth as seen in pic)
Upper half scales are outlined in black
Some appear to have 2 yellow-ish dots at the base of the tail/peduncle

those are the main identifiers for a 'true' SAE.
You can look up misidentified species to note traits that further tell apart the "real from the fake"
 

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Ditto Water Life:
See the back of the fish in the picture? That netted sort of effect is very typical.

Your fish have sucking mouths. They can cling to the glass and other surfaces. The true SAE does not do this. While their mouth is aimed just a bit downward, it is not a sucking mouth.
 

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The CAE's are not always that bad, just make sure to have more than one, so they can play leapfrog with each other.
The also get nice colouration when in good condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much for the help everyone. I figured as much. They have already grown much more than my same aged otos. I was fooled by the "authentic" tagine in the description at petco. Won't make that mistake again. I have a large African cichlid tank, mostly Lake Malawian... Plan is to move the cae's to that tank when they become to aggressive. Plenty of rock holes and caves with algea in hard to reach places. Might be a win - win. So I have a bristle nose in the newly planted tank and the 2 otos, I will probably just buy a few more of those little guys. They are a hardworking peaceful catfish I've found, cool to watch. Too bad the real siamese algea eaters are so scarce. And just a side note, petco plays very dirty anymore lol. Thanks again?
 

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I think it is more playfulness than aggression. They like to play leapfrog version of follow the leader, and co-opt the other fish to play along. I have never seen them suck on other fishes.
Get quite big too, larger than your index finger.
 

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I have had 3 CAEs when I first got them. They got along well with everyone to begin with. One died early on by committing suicide while in a bucket. He ran into the bucket wall at full speed and knocked himself out. He never recovered from it. The other two grew up together but at some point one would not let the other one eat in peace and I ended up separating the two. Both grew up to over 6" in length and while one never got aggressive against anything, the other went after my goldfish and had to be moved to another tank. Unless you have slow moving, large flat bodied fish (discus, goldfish etc.) you should be ok. But my timid CAE is still living with a silver dollar and according to the CAEs reputation this should not be a good combo but there has never been an issue between these fish. He is 14 years old now and still keeps the tank walls spotless. So it really depends on the individual CAE personality.
 

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I have heard of them being so aggressive to calmer fish that it only worked when the CAE were placed in a Rift Lake tank. I do not know which fish were in the Rift Lake tank, but they kept the CAE in line, and he (she?) did a good job on the algae.
 

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Yeah, experiences I've heard people had with CAE vary from some of the most peaceful fish to the most aggressive fish, not being able to be house with anyone, but cichlids. Personality/tempermant can vary drastically from one individual to another. Just like some bettas that can be perfectly peaceful with shrimp and others, but some are really aggressive hunting down anything in the tank. Still, environmental factors may cause a large part of varying experiences. Just see how it goes.
 
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